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Daily Sun File photo/Keith Speer

Keren’s Mya Lincoln, seen here firing a 3-pointer in an earlier game in her career, made five 3s (5 for 7) and scored 16 points to lead the LadyCats past Slocum in the Class 2A Region III bi-district round of the playoffs Tuesday.

JEWETT -- My-oh-Mya!

You have seen it before, and no doubt will see it again.

There was Kerens' Mya Lincoln, feeling good about herself, and even better about her outside shot Tuesday night, nailing one long 3 after another, burying Slocum on the Billy Evans court in the Class 2A Region III bi-district round of the playoffs.

In the end Kerens walked away with a 48-37 victory at Leon High School, the neutral site for the game that felt anything but neutral to the Kerens kids, who spent the night getting hammered inside.

No one felt it worse than Madison Parks, who had a brilliant night battling for rebounds. Parks had six of her 10 rebounds in the second half and got hacked on every offensive rebound. But she went to the free throw line just once all night (in the second quarter) and somehow spent the entire second half without taking a free throw.

Someone call Ripleys.

"It was ugly," said Kerens coach Denise Lincoln of the game. Lincoln decided enough was enough and abandoned the inside game and milked the clock in the fourth quarter and that's why the score was so low.

"The clock was our friend," she said. "We weren't getting any calls and we weren't playing great. I knew we could play keep away."

They did, and put the game away. The state-ranked LadyCats (24-8), who haven't lost in 2019, will play Mart in the Area Round of the playoffs at a time and site to be determined. .

Slocum never had the lead, and it looked like the game would be over by halftime.

Kerens' defense destroyed any ideas Slocum had of scoring early. The stat of the night came in the opening moments when Kerens forced 10 turnovers in the first five minutes and ripped off a 10-0 lead.

Mya Lincoln hit a 3 to open the night and it was apparent Slocum had no answer for Kecie Langley or Olivia Franson, who combined for 10 first quarter points in the paint, thanks to some impressive assists from Lincoln and Kerens point guard Nakia Dunn.

It looked like it would be a blowout, but Slocum, which had been to the state tournament the last two years, regrouped and cut down on turning the ball over, and played much more physical inside the rest of the night.

Ironically, the Kerens kids found themselves in foul trouble and three starters, including Franson and Dunn, spent most of the second quarter on the bench with two fouls each.

Slocum turned the ball over only four times in the second quarter and came back and closed the gap to 19-17 with 4:32 left in the half. But Kerens ended the half with a 6-1 run and Parks hit her only free throw of the night to lift the LadyCats to a 25-18 halftime cushion.

"Slocum has been to state the last two years so they have a lot of playoff experience," Lincoln said.

Kerens never allowed Slocum to get close again

Kaylee Reed came off the bench and helped ignite the LadyCats in the third quarter, flying all over the court, making steals and grabbing some clutch rebounds.

Reed opened the second half with a put-back to give Kerens some breathing room at 27-18, and when a Slocum 3-pointer cut the lead to 35-28 late in the third, Reed answered immediately with a big 3 for Kerens, pushing the lead to 38-28 with 2:37 left in the third.

"That was big," Lincoln said of Reed's inspiring play.

But the third quarter and the night belonged to Mya.

She brought the rain in the second half, hitting four long rainbow 3s, including three in the third quarter that all but ended Slocum's night and the Lady Mustangs' season.

Her first 3 of the second half lifted Kerens to a 32-25 lead, and before you cold say, "Wow, that was a pretty shot," Mya busted another one, and just-like-that Kerens was in control with a 35-25 lead with 3:17 left in the third.

Then came Reed's 3 to keep the lead at 10 (38-28) before Mya hit another bomb. Bam! That made it a 41-28 game with 1:02 left in the third, and Kerens wasn't finished. The LadyCats added a couple of free throws and took a 15-point lead into the fourth after holding Slocum scoreless over the final three minutes of the third.

Mya hit another 3-pointer the fourth and finished with five treys and 16 points, going 5 for 7 from beyond the arc. Everyone in the Golden Circle knows she has the best outside shot in this part of Texas, and now Slocum knows, too.

Mya also helped lead the defense along with Dunn, and had four steals and forced several turnovers on a night when the LadyCats forced 30 turnovers.

"That was her best game of the year," said coach Denise Lincoln, Mya's mother, who won her 302nd game Tuesday. "That's how we've always been. It's always been one girl showing out in the big game, and it's always been a different girl. We never have just one girl. We have so many girls who can show out in the big game."

That was the formula when Lincoln's 2014 team was unbeatable in a march to the state title game, and she has often said this is her best team since that one.

Several Kerens kids had big games, even though the score was long because the LadyCats played keep away in the fourth quarter.

Langley scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds blocked two shots and made two steals. Dunn scored seven points, handed out four assists and was brilliant on defense. Franson finished with five points six rebounds and two blocked shots, and Reed had a big five-point night and did a little of everything. Parks scored one point to go with her 10 rebounds and played a huge role in the victory.

"When we got to the locker room everyone was so happy," Denise Lincoln said. "This group (the seniors have starred in every sport at Kerens) has won a lot, but has never won a playoff game in any sport. There was so much pressure on them. There was a lot of tension, a lot of pressure before the game.

"You could tell they were uptight before the game," she said. "They wanted to win a playoff game so bad. That was a big win, a big win for the whole program."

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